CYFF Paving the way for Film Tourism in St. Lucia?

Festivals are nothing new to Saint Lucia but the Caribbean Youth Film Festival (CYFF) is definitely one with a difference. Innovative in itself, it has been established through the Rise Film Festival and is unique to the Caribbean. Having employed as its mechanism a strategic module of teaching the film and television art form to youth, it seeks to build holistic and productive citizens.

Local filmmaker Colin Weekes, who has emerged from a background in video production, having produced audio/visual material for companies and organisations locally, regionally and internationally, is the coordinator of the festival. Weekes has been recognized in the past for his brilliant work by the M & C Fine Arts Awards as well as the Saint Lucia Media Association. His most recent achievement is having been the recipient of the BFI Film Festival Award in England.

Film Festival Director Colin Weekes.

Film Festival Director Colin Weekes.

This year’s workshop commences July 11th and runs until August 19th. It will aim to appeal to many youth groups and individuals. The festival will also target institutions like the Boys’ Training Centre, Upton Girls’ Centre and school children in general during the summer.
“We are hoping to engage them as part of a summer activity in which they can learn various skill sets, from production to basic life skills; time management, everything which pertains to film making,” shared Weekes.

He told the STAR, “Film is the one industry that encompasses a wide array of skills, from accounting to marketing, writing and things more creative in terms of acting and production.

“Since we live in a multi-media age, it all relates to how well you work with your computer and how well you work with those other instruments.”

The initiative is being undertaken through the Ministry of Education, alongside the Ministry of Transformation, Youth and Sports, in order to expedite the summer programme. In conclusion of the programme, an awards ceremony is scheduled for August 20th, 2016. The deadline to submit films is August 10th.

When asked about his ultimate goal in relation to this festival Weekes replied, “We wish to develop a film industry in Saint Lucia because we know there is a lot of potential for film to be part of a major economic boost. The other aspect of it, which I want to clarify in terms of the film industry, is that we are talking about Saint Lucia as a nation and not necessarily Saint Lucia in terms of creating film makers to produce material, where we can encourage outside film makers and productions to come to the island and use here as a destination. However, we need to put certain things in place: regulations. policies and licenses to accommodate this.”

Those interested in this year’s film festival are encouraged to contact the Ministry of Education or cweekes@dovprostlucia.com.

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